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January 10, 2012

1. Call to Order

Mayor Martin Tully called the regular meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.  

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

Mayor Tully led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

2. Roll Call

Present: Commissioner Marilyn Schnell, Commissioner Bob Barnett, Commissioner William Waldack, Commissioner Sean P. Durkin, Commissioner Geoff Neustadt and Mayor Martin Tully  Absent: Commissioner Becky Rheintgen  Non Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden  T he Council meeting is broadcast over the local FM radio station, WDGC.  In addition, a tape recording and videotape of the meeting are being made using Village owned equipment.  The videotape of the meeting will be used for later rebroadcast of the Council meeting over the Village cable television Channel 6.

The Council will follow the rules of conduct for this meeting as provided in Sec. 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code.  These offer the public the opportunity to comment at several points in the meeting.  First, immediately following approval of the minutes of the past meetings, an opportunity will be given for public comments and questions of a general matter.  If a public hearing is scheduled for this meeting, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions related to the subject of the hearing.  Finally, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions on items appearing on the Consent Agenda, the Active Agenda and the First Reading.

The presiding officer will ask, at the appropriate time, if there are any comments from the public.  If anyone wishes to speak, the individual should raise their hand to be recognized and, after acknowledgment from the presiding officer, approach the microphone and state their name and address.  Remarks should be limited to five minutes, and asked that individuals refrain from making repetitive statements.

Mayor Tully said there are agendas located on either side of the Council Chambers, and he invited the audience to pick up an agenda and follow the progress of the Council meeting.

3. Minutes of Council Meetings

Council Minutes - January 3, 2012 M ayor Tully asked for a Motion to approve the minutes as submitted.

Commissioner Schnell moved to approve the minutes as presented.  Commissioner Durkin seconded the motion.

The Mayor declared the Motion carried by voice vote.

REP 00-04764 R eport:  State of the Village Address  2011 Annual Report

Sponsors: Mayor M ayor Tully commented that at the national level, the tradition of a chief executive giving a verbal "state of the union" address dates back to January 8, 1790 when President George Washington delivered the first annual report before a joint session of Congress meeting in New York City.  In modern times, the State of the Union Address serves as both a conversation between the president and Congress and, thanks to television, an opportunity for the president to promote his party's political agenda for the future.  In Downers Grove, the "State of the Village" Address is less about politics and more about highlighting the successes of the past year - successes that would not be possible without the collaborative and dedicated efforts of a significant team comprised of Village staff, elected officials, stakeholders, and resident volunteers. Like the national Address, the Mayor said that our residents are able to receive the State of the Village address through television and radio, but also in person and via Twitter and Facebook.  The Mayor hoped his first State of the Village address would be shorter than President Bill Clinton's 2000 address, which took 1 hour, 28 minutes and 49 seconds to deliver.

Mayor Tully began by expressing how difficult it is to encapsulate an entire year into 30 minutes.  He indicated that tonight the highlights would be Stewardship, Community Investment and Innovation.

Stewardship is defined as the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care, such as the stewardship of natural resources.  When it refers to public finances the Village is a responsible steward, as shown by two documents:  1) the Long Range Financial Plan (LRFP), and 2) the FY12 Budget (the Budget).  The LRFP drives the Village budget.

Mayor Tully pointed out that during this past year the LRFP enabled the Village to reduce operating expenses by over $5 million, reduce staffing by 45 positions since 2008, maintain a AA+ bond rating which is substantially better than the State of Illinois' current rating, continue public infrastructure investments, maintain financial reserves, and achieve long term financial stability.

With regard to the FY12 Budget, the Mayor noted the highlights, which include a balanced General Fund with expenses equal to revenues. He noted that the 2012 budgeted expenses are $1.4 million less than actual expenses five years ago.  The budget also shows a reduction in the total property tax levy of over $390,000.  This occurred because the Village did not increase the levy and took advantage of pension calculations.  The Village will also be able to continue its funding for infrastructure improvements, such as streets, stormwater, municipal utilities, and sidewalks. The Mayor pointed out that Downers Grove is well positioned for the future.

The Mayor said one way to be good stewards is through the pursuit of grant dollars.  The Village obtained $1.27 million in grants in 2011. The grants included $1400 for street repairs to nearly $263,000 for the Maple Avenue railroad crossing improvements. In addition, the Village finally received the $500,000 originally pledged some years ago by the State of Illinois for construction of the parking deck.  Federal Emergency Management Agency grants in the amount of $75,000 enabled the Village to cover some blizzard cleanup costs.

Mayor Tully then mentioned the need for a robust economic development program.  The Village is committed to strengthening and enhancing the local economy through economic development efforts.  He noted that automobile dealerships generate significant sales tax revenue to the Village and are a vital component of the local economy.  In cooperation with the EDC, the Village implemented a strategy that began in 2009 designed to retain existing automobile dealerships and attract new ones. That strategy has continued through 2011.  In 2011, the Village entered into three sales tax rebate agreements with Packey Webb Ford, Pugi Volkswagen & Hyundai, and Bentley of Downers Grove to attract and retain businesses in the Village.  Bill Kay Buick/GMC is currently making improvements to their facility.  The Village previously attracted Zeigler Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram.  This focus on auto dealerships is an important investment because these dealerships generate millions of dollars of sales tax revenue each year, which helps keep property taxes lower than they otherwise would be.

Another successful economic development program has been the OASIS matching grants program (Ogden Avenue Site Improvement Strategy). In 2010 the Village, Chamber of Commerce and EDC launched the OASIS program and it continued in 2011.  This program is designed to improve the economic performance and appearance of Ogden Avenue by providing matching grants for improvements to buildings and sites.  Money for these grants is generated by the property taxes paid by the properties in the Ogden Avenue TIF District.  He noted that over $372,000 has been awarded to 18 properties on Ogden Avenue resulting in over $1 million dollars in private investment along this vital commercial corridor.  He showed examples such as the A-Len Auto facility, and the Downers Grove Animal Hospital on Ogden Avenue.

Mayor Tully noted the expansions that have taken place in the Village as well.  Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital continues its growth and has completed a multi-year expansion of a new Surgical Center with added parking using an environmentally friendly design.  Midwestern University also opened a new College of Dental Medicine in 2011 on their Downers Grove campus.  They are constructing a 200,000 square foot building on Lacey Road that will house dental and medical clinics, which will bring new jobs and students to the community.

Mayor Tully then reported on the Village's Comprehensive Plan (the Plan) that was adopted in 2011.  The last Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1965.  He explained that the Comprehensive Plan illustrates the vision for the physical character of the Village for next 15 to 20 years.   The Plan promotes the unique aspects of the Village; is useful in attracting development and new families to Downers Grove; protects neighborhoods and open space; provides guidance on a wide range of issues including economic development, infrastructure needs, recreation, environmental impact and public safety.  The Mayor then thanked the dedicated volunteer members of the Comprehensive Planning Ad Hoc Committee who gave of their time and experience in bringing this Plan to fruition.

Mayor Tully then referred to an old saying regarding parking:  "Not having enough parking in your downtown is a good problem to have."  He noted that the Village has this problem.  Downtown Downers Grove is a popular shopping and dining destination as well as home to a busy commuter rail station.  In 2011 the Village completed a comprehensive Downtown Parking Study to ensure that best practices are used to plan and manage available parking.  Extensive data collection and stakeholder input was used to understand current conditions and parking demand.  Some of the key findings of the study are 1) that parking in the downtown is at or over capacity; 2) the parking deck is well used with over 90% occupation on weekdays; and, 3) the parking system does not have enough capacity to support future development.  Recommended improvements based on the Study findings are to increase the amount of shopper parking, make better use of private parking lots, relocate some commuter parking, and add short-term parking convenient for shoppers.  Staff is currently working to implement the recommendations in the Study, which involve increasing the amount of parking available by partnering with the owners of private parking lots, working with Metra to shift commuter parking spaces to create more convenient parking for shoppers, adding 15 minute short-term parking spaces to improve shopper convenience, and changing parking regulation enforcement practices.

The Mayor noted that in 2011, the Village experienced amplified deficiencies of the ComEd system because of storm-related power outages.  The Village served as an advocate for residents and businesses by working to improve the reliability of ComEd's electrical system.  A reliability report was prepared by the Village identifying the areas of the Village that were experiencing poor reliability.  It also identified the causes of power outages and made specific recommendations for improvements.  Mayor Tully said that the reliability report was presented at a Town Hall meeting with ComEd representatives present, as well as residents.  As a result, ComEd is making many of the improvements recommended in the report.  They are nowhere near completion but progress is being made.  The Mayor said that the Village and staff would continue to work with ComEd to make sure that the improvements are made.  He reminded the public that status reports on ComEd's progress are posted on the Village website, and the Mayor provides updates at each Village Council meeting.  In addition, the Village benefits by working through its membership in DMMC regarding protocols for improved communication and responsiveness during extended weather-related outages.

Mayor Tully said that the Village continues to lead the way regarding environmental stewardship through a variety of sustainable best management practices in the areas of recycling, energy and fuel conservation, and environmentally friendly practices.  He noted that the Village again hosted the Recycling Extravaganza in September, with over 100,000 pounds of electronics collected, 20,000 pounds of paper shredded and 202 lead-acid batteries recycled.  A great deal of waste was diverted from land fills.  He said that free electronics recycling is now available the first Saturday of each month at Village Hall from 9:00 a.m. to noon in cooperation with Creative Recycling.  Village personnel and community volunteers staff the event.  In addition, for the second year the Village is accepting used holiday lights at the Public Works facility, Monday through Friday until February 10.

The Mayor said that another part of energy conservation has to do with fuel conservation on a regular basis, and the Village meets this with its green fleet of vehicles and its solar-heated facilities.  Presently, 77% of the Village's vehicle fleet runs on alternative fuels, which includes B-20 biodiesel, compressed natural gas and hybrid electric/fuel power.  He pointed out that alternative fuels save money in the form of lower fuel maintenance costs, nothing that the Village's CNG vehicles achieve 35 MPG at $1.00 per gallon.  Congressman Judy Biggert was so impressed with reports of the Village's program that she paid a special visit to see the Village's program.

The Mayor then addressed the topic of Community Investment, defined as investment for the general public rather than for financial gain, in things such as schools and roads.  He noted that stormwater projects and roadway reconstruction and maintenance continue as the major focus of the Village's infrastructure development efforts.  In 2011, the Village spent $11 million for projects across both areas.

With regard to stormwater projects, the Village's work to mitigate flooding throughout the community is a top priority, as indicated by the 13 high-priority stormwater projects completed since 2009.  He said that in areas where much needed stormwater infrastructure projects were completed, flooding is no longer an issue.  The Village has implemented several environmentally friendly techniques to complete stormwater management projects, including native plantings, permeable materials and proper grading to improve water quality, stabilize soil and reduce erosion.  The stormwater projects for 2011 included storm sewer replacement on Washington from Grant to Ogden; new storm sewers on Sterling from Grant to Davis and on Davis from Sterling to Douglas; drainage improvements on 39th Street, and rehabilitation of the storm sewer on Prospect from Lincoln to Chicago.  The Mayor stated that, without question, the best example of a flood mitigation project using sustainable techniques is the 2nd and Cumnor stormwater facility.  Prior to the project, the homes and roadways in this area flooded often and thanks to this project they no longer do. The project included the creation of a natural detention basin, the addition of new storm sewers, the creation of enhanced features like a pedestrian walkway and other park amenities, and the installation of below the surface filters to improve the quality of runoff from the site.  The inclusion of native plantings and finished landscaping will be completed in the spring.

Mayor Tully then addressed the issue of roadway maintenance, stating that the Village spent $3.6 million in 2011 for resurfacing 8 miles of streets, crack filling 22 miles of streets, and patching.  As the result of street inspections, it was determined that additional patching was needed before the onset of winter, resulting in patching of 48 different street segments by staff throughout the Village to improve road conditions.  In addition, Village staff replaced 14 cross walks in the downtown area with a $130,000 grant from the Illinois Jobs Now program

As for the Belmont underpass, the Mayor said that construction is running ahead of schedule.  He explained that this is a $56 million Metra project to improve safety and traffic flow, and no Village money was used in this project.  Metra is constructing this project and the Village continues to participate on the construction management team.  He reported that in October two lanes of traffic underneath the tracks were open, and all four lanes will be open sometime around June 2012.

Mayor Tully said that taking good care of what you have and maintaining it can only take you so far.  There must be innovation, defined as a new idea, method or device.  In 2011, the Consolidated Dispatch Center came into being, uniting the Village of Downers Grove and Westmont by introducing consolidated dispatching services for Police and Fire 9-1-1 emergency calls.  The Center operates in the existing Downers Grove Police Department facilities, and was created as an innovative way to reduce costs for both communities.  This effort has resulted in a savings of $300,000 for Downers Grove, and $220,000 for Westmont annually.  The level of service to residents has improved.  Westmont and Downers Grove are now treated as one department, so the closest Fire/EMS unit is dispatched, which reduces response time along the eastern border.

Another example of the commitment to continual innovation is the Commuter Pay by Phone application. The Village offers a pay by phone system for users of the daily fee commuter parking spaces, and parkers can now pay for parking spaces using their smart phone or other mobile device.  Access to this app is available under Parking and Transportation at www.downers.us.

Mayor Tully then reported on the vehicle fleet maintenance agreements with District 58 and SEASPAR to provide services for their vehicles at their option. These agreements reduce expenses for these organizations, and increases Village revenue to share fixed cost for maintenance services that are already being provided.

Mayor Tully commented that partnerships are a key component of the Village's success, and the Village enjoys a strong working partnership with the EDC, Downers Grove Chamber and Downtown Management Corporation, all actively working to strengthen the local economy.

The Mayor then said the Village received numerous awards and recognition exemplifying the commitment to Exceptional Municipal Services.  Some of the recognitions received by the Village during the year include the 2011 Illinois Crime Prevention Association Unit of the Year awarded to the Community Oriented Policing team for their work building strong community partnerships and improving the quality of life for our residents.  Their duties include serving as the domestic violence liaison to Family Shelter Services, enforcing tobacco laws, and conducting Senior Citizen investigations and crime prevention programs.  In addition, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital awarded the Joseph Hartmann Award of Excellence to the Fire Department for excellence in the delivery of emergency care, and in particular for the miraculous rescue of a worker who was pinned against a wall by two 800-pound air conditioner coils.

In 2011 the Village was recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for excellence in financial reporting for the 2010 Comprehensive Annual Report, and was given the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

Mayor Tully commented on national recognition for innovative approaches, saying that MuniNet Guide posted an article about how innovation is driving results at Village Hall. This is an on-line resource specializing in municipal matters and used by those researching municipal bonds. Their article summarized the efforts Downers Grove has taken to create a culture where employees are empowered to innovate to improve services and save resources and money.

In concluding, the Mayor said that no better closing statement could be made than that made by MuniNet Guide:  "Innovation is not just a fancy buzzword in Downers Grove; rather, it has become an official ingredient in the Village's recipe for success."

Mayor Tully added that with innovation as our official ingredient, there is no telling what terrific things we can cook up for this community in 2012 and beyond.  He said how hard it is to compress an entire year of activity, effort and accomplishment into 30 minutes, and expressed his appreciation to the Village staff, stakeholders in this community, volunteers and his fellow Council members.   Indexes: State of the Village

4. Public Comments - General Comments on Matters Not Appearing on Tonight's Agenda

1 .  Barbara Taylor, Executive Director of the YMCA came to speak about the Downers Grove FORWARD leadership Team, whose focus is on youth and family and reducing childhood obesity.  A coalition of leaders began with data collection on childhood obesity.  The County was divided into five regions, each of which had a YMCA.  The YMCA was designated as a regional office.  Ms. Taylor said that in this Southeast DuPage area, including Downers Grove, there are 27% of overweight children, and 12% who are obese.  The group put together a Core Leadership team whose task was to identify after school programs and areas to perform healthy living assessments.  The group gathered data and did a community-at-large assessment.  Three primary ideas were created.  The group recognized that the Village of Downers Grove's Comprehensive Plan addressed many of the things they hoped would be addressed, such as sidewalks, parks, bike paths, etc.  They also were concerned about the access of youth and seniors to transportation.  Secondly, the issue of physical activity was studied, since there is a need for more programs for the non-competitive athletes among teen-agers.  Thirdly, they said the issue of healthy eating was discussed, in an effort to provide greater opportunities to obtain healthy foods.  Ms. Taylor said their group is in ten communities at this time, and they will be moving into five new communities in 2012.

2.  Frank Falesch, 820 Prairie, said that on December 11 all of the new solar street lights in the Prentiss Creek area were working.  He noted that there were six instances where the lights were not working properly.  He commented that it appears the batteries might be the problem, and asked how long they should last and what they cost.  Mr. Falesch said that these issues were not discussed when the lights were approved.

Mayor Tully responded that staff was asked to look into this issue.  He asked the Manager if they are operating within the design parameters.

Mr. Fieldman replied that staff conducted a detailed analysis, and the lights are operating within the parameters.  Detailed specifications were shared with the neighborhood, and there were no complaints.  He said the lights were performing as expected.

Mr. Falesch said the wind turbines are not performing properly in his opinion.  He provided information as to his examination of the inoperable units with notations as to when he studied the lights, what the weather conditions were, and how many lights were not functioning.

3.  John Scofield, 1125 Jefferson Avenue, congratulated the Council on the State of the Village report, saying that the content was uplifting.  He thanked the Mayor and Manager for scheduling the public presentation before private presentations.  With regard to stewardship content, Mr. Scofield said at some point they should hear more about the environmental impact on the tree canopy, given the events of last year. 

5. Public Hearings

6. Consent Agenda

BIL 00-04757 A.  List of Bills Payable:  No. 5952, January 10, 2012

Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A

RES 00-04755 B.  Resolution:  Authorize a Grant Agreement with Alexander, LLC

Sponsors: Community Development

Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A GRANT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND ALEXANDER, LLC

 

RESOLUTION 2012-03 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Ogden Avenue TIF

RES 00-04754 C.  Resolution:  Authorize a License Agreement for the Temporary Use of Public Property with the Rotary Club of Downers Grove for the 2012 Rotary Club Grove Fest

Sponsors: Community Development

Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR THE TEMPORARY USE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND THE ROTARY CLUB OF DOWNERS GROVE FOR THE 2012 ROTARY CLUB GROVE FEST RESOLUTION 2012-04 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Community Events

MOT 00-04759 D.  Motion:  Extension to the Agreement with Emerald Tree Care, LLC

Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Trees and Shrubs

RES 00-04761 E.  Resolution:  Authorize the Sale of Personal Property Owned by the Village of Downers Grove

Sponsors: Public Works

Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE SALE BY PUBLIC AUCTION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY OWNED BY THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE RESOLUTION 2012-05 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Surplus Property

Passed The Consent Agenda

A motion was made by Commissioner Schnell, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully

7. Active Agenda

ORD 00-04734 A.  Ordinance:  Vacate a Certain Portion of the Prince Street Right-of-Way

Sponsors: Plan Commission and Community Development

Summary of Item: This vacates a certain portion of a 66-foot wide by 600-foot long portion of the Prince Street right-of-way located between Grant Street on the south and Sherman Street on the north and immediately west of and adjacent to Downers Grove North High School property and require payment in the amount of $73,681.00.

AN ORDINANCE VACATING A CERTAIN PORTION OF THE PRINCE STREET RIGHT-OF-WAY LOCATED IMMEDIATELY WEST OF AND ADJACENT TO DOWNERS GROVE NORTH HIGH SCHOOL IN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE ORDINANCE NO. 5248 The Mayor said this Ordinance vacates a portion of the Prince Street right-of-way and requires payment in an amount of $73,681.

Commissioner Waldack said he would comment on the west side only, saying that the presentations by the school representatives were excellent.  There are three issues:  1) whether the property is no longer necessary; 2) ingress/egress easements; and 3) compensation.  Commissioner Waldack noted that the suggestion is to compensate the Village at one-half the value of the property.  The Village is selling something of value and has the responsibility to protect the people of Downers Grove.  The Village cannot give the property away just because District 99 is another public body.  He noted that the Village charges for vacating public land.  The appraised price of the property is $147,722 and the people of Downers Grove own the property.  He said that District 99 can move ahead with their plan due to the land sales in Woodridge.  He thinks lowering the price is a bad precedent.  District 99 did not give the land in Woodridge away, and he doesn't think the Village of Downers Grove should do so either.  He noted that District 99 serves more than just Downers Grove, but includes Woodridge, Darien, Westmont and others.  The Council's responsibility is to the residents of the Village of Downers Grove.  He does not agree with giving $147,000 worth of land to these other entities.  Commissioner Waldack said that all taxpayers do not benefit from District 99.  The Village has agreements with other public bodies and they have not played fair with Village taxpayers' money.  This is about fair compensation to Village residents.  The Commissioner said that the Village charges non-profits for all events because not to do so, according to the Village, is not financially sustainable.  A few years ago the Village took action to close Counseling and Social Services to save $150,000, so he asked why the Village would want to waive the $147,000.  He agrees that this is a great project, and he supports the project, but not by giving land away at less than its full value.

Commissioner Neustadt commented that there is a list of items to be reviewed for the east side of the property.  He feels confident that District 99 heard what the Village had to say about the project.  He lives in the area and believes the issues raised were heard and will be addressed.  He will support this measure.

Commissioner Barnett commented that he supports this as well.  The Village is not foregoing an annual cost.  He feels this is equitable and he will support it.

Commissioner Durkin commented that the staff worked with the District and learned that 50% of the geographic area of District 99 is outside the Village of Downers Grove.  That is why he supports the compensation level established.  He said this was a good process and he will support it.

Commissioner Schnell said that she will support this project also, and she thanked the school district for their support.  This charges the population that is not in Downers Grove.  She said she has faith that the staff and school administration will work diligently to make the matter work.

Mayor Tully stated that this parcel of land is not necessary to the Village and vacation will help create a campus at North High School.  There is an ingress/egress issue, and staff will work with District 99 on that issue.  As to compensation, there is a difference between "fee" and "policy to vacate right-of-way."  The Village may require compensation, and it has been Village practice to do so.  A right-of-way is an asset and belongs to the people of Downers Grove.  Fair market value for the property is $148,000.  The Village needs to be consistent.  However, this is a unique situation in that it is a public entity coming before the Council.  District 99 has a greater service area than the Village.  The solution he thought of has to do with the percentage of the District outside the Village boundaries.  It is approximately 50%, and he feels this is a fair way to handle the matter.  He fully understands Commissioner Waldack's position, however.  The Mayor said he would support this request.   A motion was made by Commissioner Schnell, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file.  Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully  Nay: Commissioner Waldack  Indexes: Vacation - Right of Way - Prince Street

8. First Reading

RES 00-04760 A.  Resolution:  Intent to Continue Participation in the Suburban Tree Consortium and Authorize Certain Purchases for FY 2012

Sponsors: Public Works N an Newlon, Director, Public Works, said that the Village has participated in the Suburban Tree Consortium since 1987, and has obtained plantings from the Consortium.  This concerns the purchase of 450 new and replacement trees lost in the 2011 June tornado.  The Forestry staff has worked with the residents, and staff recommends approval.

Commissioner Schnell commented that she supported this.  She noted that the Village is spending roughly double their cost in 2007 for not as many trees, and asked if the trees are bigger or more expensive.

Ms. Newlon said that the Village is required to pay the prevailing wages, which increases the costs.

Commissioner Durkin asked how many River Birches there are in Downers Grove, and Ms. Newlon responded that there were 53.  Commissioner Durkin asked if these are different than double-stem River Birches.  Ms. Newlon replied that they are single stem River Birch trees.  The Village does not plant multi-stem.  Commissioner Durkin commented that these trees are dirty, and Ms. Newlon said that a number of the trees are replacement trees.  Commissioner Durkin asked whether there are insurance proceeds that can be applied to the cost, since a number of the trees are replacements from the storm.

Mr. Fieldman replied that there were no funds available.

Commissioner Barnett commented that trees are one of the things that people say they like about the community.  More than half of the trees planted in the parkway have been planted since 1970.

Commissioner Neustadt noted that it is an awesome service to the residents to allow them to pick the trees.

Commissioner Waldack commented that this is an annual event.  He asked for a report on the tree canopy by the Village Forester on an on-going basis.  Indexes: Tree Consortium

INF 00-04756 B.  Discussion:  Human Service Commission Recommendation

Sponsors: Manager's Office M r. Fieldman noted that in 2010 the Council requested that the Human Services Commission (HSC) consider whether the Village could leverage its name and resources, and community volunteers, to act as a clearing house of information and/or funds, to fill voids left by the present economic conditions.  He noted that the Commission considered this topic in several meetings, and provided a two-pronged recommendation.  First, they recommended a creation and maintenance of an interactive and searchable website to direct residents to available social services.  Secondly, the Village should consider creating awareness of the existing social services through various marketing and community venues.

Mr. Fieldman stated this would add an equivalent workload of a .20 full time equivalent of staff resources to handle website development, phone call responses and training.

The Mayor said this is primarily for Council discussion and there is no staff proposal.

Commissioner Neustadt noted that the Village has the mechanics in place for creating awareness.  He supports moving ahead with this.  It will be more work to create and maintain an interactive and searchable website.

Commissioner Schnell expressed mixed emotions on this, acknowledging that it is necessary to have information available to people.  She agreed that the Village has one of the best webmasters around.  She then asked if there are ways that the monies could be better used.  She asked whether this is the Village's job, or if there are services in the Township and the County that could provide the services.  If it is the Village's job, she asked if it is the best use of personnel.  She saw this as a shift in terms of core services.  Commissioner Schnell repeated that she would like to know whether the County or Townships have this information available.  She also expressed a major concern with regarding to providing counseling, and whether that would be a liability to the Village.  Right now she has more questions than answers and needs more information.

Commissioner Waldack thanked his colleagues for delaying this discussion so he could participate.  When this previously discussed, he felt it was imperitive that the Village not participate in the solicitation, collection, or dispensing of private funds for non-official purposes.  Finding resources and knowing where to go for help is important, and he thought that the Village could not ignore the problems.  The County is starting to off-load the responsibility, and the Township would like to do so as well.  He expressed frustration at hearing that it is not the Village's job.  He thinks it is the Village's job.  Problems do not go away just because they are not reported.  The problems are still out there.  He believes people in trouble may not go to the website, but they will talk to someone.  Commissioner Waldack said he thought professionals and friends would be more likely to use the website.  He supports a website.  He thinks that money for a .20 full time employee is probably not necessary.  He said he feels that the Village can facilitate and suggested that the not-for-profit service organizations could be given the opportunity to develop a website.  He recommended turning this back to the Human Services Commission.

Commissioner Schnell responded that if this has a Village name on it, the Village webmaster should do it.  She would be uncomfortable with this if it were to be a Village project run by not-for-profits.

Commissioner Neustadt commented that he views this as someone who would be looking for help for another person.

Mayor Tully said that providing information is providing a service.

Commissioner Barnett noted that they have moved from delivering to facilitating.  The Village did that with Heritage Festival.  He feels it is appropriate to be in the business of providing information.  They are trying to fill a need without spending a lot of money and he pointed out that they have the Council and staff to monitor the expenses.  He believes things like this should be started.  The difficult budgets of 2009-2010 helped set this up.  He recommended engaging the HSC.

Commissioner Schnell replied that she does not have a problem doing this, but doesn't want to duplicate services.  Staff already has projects for 2012 and she wondered what the impact of this would be.  They would be giving staff another objective.  Commissioner Schnell stated that she believes in social services, but wants to know that it can reasonably be done this year.  She wants to be sure this is thoroughly thought out.

Mayor Tully commented that it is a struggle to determine how to do this.  Everyone can get behind goals.  This, however, is innovative.  The Village will not be delivering a service, as much as providing sponsorship.  The Village will receive phone calls.  As to employees, he believes .20 is underestimated.  He asked how the Village could facilitate this so it would be someone else's website.  He sees it as a terrific goal.

Commissioner Neustadt commented that community resources are available on the Village's webpage.  This page could be restructured.

Mr. Fieldman said the page takes you to the resources at the County level.  There are programs that exist that are at the County level.  The question is whether we should do that on a municipal level.

The Mayor noted that there are already service organizations providing services, such as the Walk-In Ministry of Hope.  He discussed the possibility of posting links on the Village's website.

1.  Mark Thoman, 1109  61st Street, stated he is on the Senior Advisory Committee for Downers Grove Township.  They are looking at aggregating services and looking at aggregating information.

2.  Tim Meaney, 420 Franklin, said that the green sheet should say this would direct residents "and social service providers"- those words should be added to the recommendation.  He thinks the best solution is to have a social service caseworker whose position would function as triage.  They do not have this now.  In the absence of a caseworker, providers would find it useful to have a database of information wherein they could coordinate their efforts with other agencies.  Service providers do not always know the other services.

The Mayor noted that there are people collaborating to provide this information today on websites.

Mr. Meany responded that this offers the Village the opportunity to provide this collaboration.  The HSC voted unanimously in favor of this recommendation, and it is inexpensive.  The services could be put together, and he hoped that the Village would take the lead on this matter, as he sees it as an opportunity.

Commissioner Waldack responded that he'd like to see HSC take an active role, and take the next step.  There is a sense of urgency on part of the service providers to do something.

Mayor Tully noted that they do not have a defined task or expectations, and it is not ready to be sent back to the HSC.

Commissioner Neustadt commented that they need to have more direction.  The Village has staff to create a website.  He suggested checking out websites.

3.  Megan Schroeder, 6036 Ridge Court, said she was at the meeting, and many people did not know the other agencies existed.  They want to control their own information, wanted an informational list and an opportunity to meet.  They were looking for a clearinghouse.  She suggested narrowing the scope of the project.  A list and links would be valuable.

Following Ms. Schroeder's comments, the Council discussed the potential content of the database.

Commissioner Durkin asked that staff explore information provided by Mr. Thoman.

Commissioner Neustadt questioned whether they should ask staff to create a template with the name, phone number and link.

The Mayor asked what the downside would be to simply having a link on the Village's website with service organizations.

Mr. Fieldman responded that staff could take an active or passive role.  A searchable website would require .20 full time employee.  He said that staff would discuss what was heard tonight and then come back with ideas. Indexes: Boards and Commissions

9. Mayor's Report

ComEd Reliability Report

The Mayor said that staff has started contacting residents scheduled for tree trimming to be sure notification is being provided.  Trimming will continue through March and may result in short power outages.

Proclamation

The Mayor proclaimed January 16, 2012 as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the Village of Downers Grove. 

10. Manager's Report

11. Attorney's Report

 Future Active Agenda

12. Council Member Reports and New Business

Commissioner Barnett announced that Whittier School was conducting their fundraising event tomorrow.  Additional information is located on www.whittierschoolpta.org.  The event will benefit the school.

Commissioner Durkin announced that the Downers Grove Noon Lions Club had a meeting today at Oak Trace Senior Living, formerly Fairview Village.  He received a tour of the facility, and the tour guide was excited to learn of the possibility of holding a Coffee With the Council meeting there.  If that is done, they would provide refreshments.

Commissioner Schnell expressed sympathies to the Rheintgens on their loss.

Commissioner Waldack agreed with the idea of rotating Coffee with the Council.  He thanked Village employees for their work during the past year.  He enjoyed participating in the staff luncheons and referenced the pinning ceremony for Firefighters.  He was impressed with the experience of the staff.

Commissioner Neustadt said that the downtown businesses will conduct an indoor sidewalk sale this weekend.  He also announced that the Ice Sculpture Festival will take place February 10-12, 2012.

The Mayor said that the State of the Village address will be given as part of a breakfast meeting of the Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce at the Doubletree Hotel tomorrow morning.  On January 21 at 8:00 a.m. at 2001 Butterfield Road there will be an Up and Down stair climb.  He has agreed to go to "jail" on January 25 to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and in order to be bailed out, a contribution has to be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  Information can be obtained at www2.mda.org.

The Mayor then announced that there are 163 days until the next Grove Fest.

13. Adjournment

Commissioner Schnell moved to adjourn.  Commissioner Durkin seconded the Motion.

VOTE:  YEA - Commissioners Schnell, Durkin, Barnett, Neustadt, Waldack, Mayor Tully

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 9:47 p.m.